Action Alert – Stop the attack on the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program

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stweardGovernor Walker’s budget proposes putting a freeze on Wisconsin’s popular Stewardship land protection program until 2028.

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program protects Wisconsin’s lands and waters, clean air, human health, working forests and the jobs they provide, tourism revenue, wildlife habitat and the trails, parks, lakes, rivers and forests where we walk, fish, hunt, ski and enjoy the outdoors.   Since 1990, the DNR has purchased or bought easements to more than 560,000 acres, and virtually all of that land is open to public use, and most of it open to fishing and hunting.

 

What’s next and what you can do:

  • The legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) will now begin debating the Governor’s proposed budget, including the fate of the Stewardship Program
  • Their process has already begun as they hear from citizens and their legislative colleagues
  • JFC hearings on the budget will likely start in March
  • Finally, the legislature will vote on the budget and send it back to the Governor where he can make line-item vetoes before signing it in to law

We need to make our voices and the voices of our members heard NOW and until the budget is signed.

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Feel free to use one of these templates and personalize as you wish.

TEMPLATE A

Dear (Senator or Representative),

I am disappointed to see that Governor Walker is proposing to stop one of the most important publicprivate programs in Wisconsin—a program that directly benefits our economy and our lives by keeping our lands and waters healthy. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program protects Wisconsin’s lands and waters, clean air, human health, working forests and the jobs they provide, tourism revenue, wildlife habitat and the trails, parks, lakes, rivers and forests where we walk, fish, hunt, ski and enjoy the outdoors. Our lands and waters are one of the reasons many companies choose to do business in Wisconsin and why talented people in all professions choose to live and work here. They provide multiple benefits today, and they are the foundation for our children’s future. The Governor proposes to reverse the moratorium on the Stewardship Program at some distant point in the future. But the time to protect our lands and waters is now while they are intact and healthy and the opportunity exists to do so. Once the lakes and rivers have been polluted, large expanses of forest divided and developed, wetlands drained, our last prairies plowed up and replaced with houses, roads, and parking lots, it will be too late. I feel strongly that every dollar we invest in conserving our lands and waters at today’s prices is a better value than doing so somewhere down the road. Wisconsin residents clearly understand this. In a bipartisan poll conducted by The Nature Conservancy, nearly 90% of Wisconsin voters agree that even in tight fiscal times, the Stewardship Program should be a priority. Please, as you work through the budget process, vote to keep this land and water conservation program working to protect the forests, grasslands, lakes and rivers on which our health, our economy and our quality of life depend.

Respectfully, (Your Name)

TEMPLATE B

Dear (Senator or Representative),

I am writing to voice my concern for Governor Walker’s proposed freezing of new land purchases through the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and love the opportunity to experience the incredible outdoor spaces it has to offer. I enjoy being able to spend vacation time and money within our borders. I value the responsible forestry industry and the jobs it provides. I take pride in our Ice Age Trail and the tourism revenue it offers. Most of all, I treasure that we have had a long standing beacon of sustainable and effective land stewardship and the chance to tell my children that some people believe in doing what is right because it is the right thing to do. Like many others, I fear losing so much of what is great about our fair state as a result of Governor Walker’s budget proposal. I hope you will strongly consider opposing this cut and protect an incredibly valuable asset.

Respectfully, (Your Name)

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